Ma Hla May is Flory's Burmese mistress. She wears traditional clothing but ensures it is of fashionable cut and expensive manufacture. She wears jewelry and keeps her hair coiled in a black cylinder. She is a tiny, straight woman with a slender body, nearly prepubescent in contour. She has an oval, copper-colored face and narrow eyes and always wears various scents. Flory finds her outlandish but very beautiful. She protests her complete fidelity to Flory and states that she finds Burmese men repulsive—but in fact maintains Ba Pe, Ko S'la's younger brother, as her lover.